NDrive is a satellite navigation application, available for a great number of platforms including iOS, Windows Mobile and even Bada OS (as featured on the latest Samsung Wave S8500). It’s recently made the move to the Android Market, and is available to download for Android devices right now, so let’s take a look!
Although NDrive is a free download from the Marketplace, it doesn’t come with any maps pre-loaded on to the application, for two reasons. Firstly, the maps are huge. If you download a map of UK and Ireland, it will take up over 200mb of space, so it needs to be installed on to your micro SD memory card. Secondly, the maps cost (obviously), so you pick and choose which maps you need. For example, the UK and Ireland map will set you back €30. You can purchase larger maps too; Western Europe costs €60 and North America is available for €40.
The application itself works really well. When you enter a destination, you’re given as choice of routes to choose from, with various options such as quickest or avoiding tolls. You’re then given the total distance to your destination from your current location, and how long it will take to get there. Of course, the application uses GPS, so it’s really accurate when being used.
It’s got some really neat features that you won’t find on many other satellite navigation applications on many platforms. One such feature is gesture recognition. When you’re driving (or for safety reasons, possibly when you aren’t driving?), you can use gestures to pan and zoom around the map and through the various features enabled in the application. This is certainly a lot easier than fumbling around, trying to find small buttons on a small screen from a few feet away, and a welcome addition to the application.
Another feature that I noticed almost immediately was the 3D rendering capabilities of the app when you’re driving past notable landmarks. The graphics are as good as can be expected on an application made for a number of different devices running Android (such as my Nexus One), and the animations are smooth too, making for a pleasant journey!
So NDrive is great. It’s probably the best satellite navigation option on the iPhone, Windows Mobile, Bada, but what about Android? Surely it’s the best on the Android platform as well?
Technically speaking, I’d probably have to agree that NDrive is certainly up there with the best, as it has a multitude of great features available and is easy to use. However, it has one thing on Android that it doesn’t on other platforms: competition. Free competition.
Of course, you can use Google Maps Navigation on Android devices for a cost of absolutely nothing! It doesn’t cost a penny, it works great, and it’s waiting for you without you having to download anything from the Market or in-app, such as huge map files which are needed on the SD memory card for NDrive to work.
Whether NDrive can be as successful on Android as it has been on other platforms greatly depends on the number of people willing to shell out an extra money for the privilege of using it, and something tells me that most people, myself included, will stick with the free option of Google Navigation instead.
Would you pay for a third party satellite navigation Android app? Or are you more than happy to take advantage of Google’s free sat nav service?